We can be so busy with our day to day activities and all the distractions of modern life that we rarely give our full attention to those closest to us, or feel we receive full attention from them.
It's possible that you have become desensitised and do not even notice what's missing. My experience and the work I do has made me much more conscious of the quality of attention I give, and receive. When I don't feel seen or heard, maybe someone interrupts me when I am speaking, or looks at their phone instead of at me, or I just sense their mind is elsewhere, I feel it. It hurts. We all need to know that we matter and are worthy of someones total attention even if just for a few minutes.
The other day I heard Dr Rangan Chatterjee speaking about his new book Feel Better in 5 in which he suggests various ways of improving our emotional, physical and mental well-being. He described his "Tea Ritual", a really simple but incredibly powerful way to build connection time into your daily routine.
He suggests taking 5 minutes at the end of the day to make time to connect with your partner. To actually stop and pay attention to each other. He does it over a cup of tea with his wife after putting the children to bed and clearing up. No phones, no distractions, just 5 minutes of listening to each other and being heard. The impact can be profound.
Maybe you do something like this already, maybe this sounds impossible for you right now, or perhaps you'd like to give it a try.
It's important to find a way that works for you and your loved one - if you don't have a partner it could be your child, or your parent, or someone you live with. Or if you live alone maybe find a friend you can do this with (I'm sure it can work over the phone). Time to check in and be heard. Keep it simple, and keep it short. Add it into a routine that already exists and it's more likely to stick. Make it as easy as possible until it becomes a habit, and notice what changes.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Epictetus.
I'd love to hear how it works for you. Please do let me know in the comments below.